Advisory Council



Cameron Bailey, BA'87, is the CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival®. Since 2008 he has been responsible for the overall vision and execution of the Festival's selection. Bailey began programming for Toronto in 1990 and worked both as a film programmer and film critic for 20 years before taking on his current role. Bailey wrote about cinema for Toronto's weekly NOW Magazine from 1988-2007, and was a long-time critic for CBC Radio and CTV's national morning television program, Canada AM. 
From 1998-2002 Bailey also co-hosted the international film program across Canada on the Showcase Review. As a programmer and curator he has organized film series for the National Gallery of Canada, Cinematheque Ontario and Australia's Sydney International Film Festival. He has served on many film festival juries around the world, including most recently at the Beijing International Film Festival and South Korea's Busan Film Festival, as well as the Pan-African Film Festival in Burkina Faso, and other festivals from Antalya to Zanzibar. 
Born in London, England, Bailey migrated first to Barbados then to Canada as a child. He studied English Literature at Western University and cinema at York University. He also holds an Honorary Degree from Humber College. In 2007, Bailey was a part of the delegation accompanying Canadian Governor-General Michaelle Jean on her State Visit to Brazil, where he led a discussion on transnational cinema. He has been a guest speaker at several Canadian universities, the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University and the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2011, he gave the annual William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture at the Heritage Toronto Awards. 
Bailey sits on the board of Tourism Toronto and is a former board member of the Ontario Film Development Corporation and the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2010-2011, he was co-chair of the Arts & Culture Working Group of Toronto's CivicAction. He was also a member of the Creative Capital group that prepared a Mayor's Report on Toronto's cultural sector. 
Bailey resides in Toronto with his wife and son.


Michelle Banik is an accomplished global Human Resources executive. With more than 25 years of diverse business experience gained across a technology services start-up, a publicly traded financial services organization and one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, Michelle brings a career focus to establishing people strategies that move organizations forward during periods of growth, or cultural & business transformation. As a global C-Suite executive, Michelle has been a culture carrier, a trusted strategic partner to the CEO and C-Suite, and a thoughtful advisor to the Board of Directors. 
During her 9-year tenure as Chief People Officer at OMERS (2010 to 2019), Michelle successfully delivered a number of key initiatives, driving the People & Culture agenda forward during a significant period of global growth - in assets under management ($65B to $100B), and through international expansion with offices in Singapore, Sydney, Paris, Berlin, Boston, and San Francisco, complementing existing Toronto, New York and London, UK footprints. With a focus on value creation and delivery with excellence Michelle and her global team of 75 professionals delivered on OMERS People & Culture Strategy across all Investment and Corporate teams. She now works as Corporate Director of Empire Company Ltd., the multi-billion food retail company that owns Sobeys Inc.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Arts from Western University, is a Chartered Director (C. Dir), and a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE).  Michelle serves as a member of the Advisory Council at the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities (SASAH) at Western University and on the National Board of Directors and HRCC for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.


Owen Charters is the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.  Through ninety-five clubs across the country, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada provides a safe, supportive place where children and youth can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships, and develop confidence and skills for life. 
Over his career, Owen has worked with many non-profit organizations, including the YM-YWCA, Easter Seals, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre Foundation, CanadaHelps, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.  In executive leadership roles, he has focused on marketing and fundraising to help organizations raise their profile and grow their impact, with a number of successful and high-profile campaigns under his belt. 
A proponent of a strong, collective voice for the non-profit sector, Owen is currently chair of Imagine Canada. He is a frequent speaker on charitable and non-profit issues across Canada. 
He holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario, and an MBA and a Graduate Diploma in Nonprofit Management, both from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and is an adjunct member of York’s faculty, lecturing at the MBA-level on nonprofit management in Canada. 


As Director of Operations and Research for TakingItGlobal, Sean Keith, BA' has managed a portfolio of projects in the social media arena developing research insights through dialogue with a global network of more than 450,000 young people. Leveraging both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the development and implementation of large-scale U&A and tracking research efforts have focused on quantifying impacts across a portfolio of initiatives, from political advocacy and education to social innovation projects. Internally, Sean has driven the development of custom project planning, tracking, and dashboarding tools to simplify and automate reporting practices.
His research has been accepted and presented at the Digital Media Learning conference (2011) and published internally and in peer-reviewed academic literature. As a facilitator, Sean has worked with a range of executive-level clients, from Wall Street (Coburn Ventures) and marketing research (Hotspex) to non-profit sectors (TIG). Participating as a moderator (DML Conference) and invited panelist (UN-ILO, UNICEF-NCD Child), Sean has been involved in enabling inter-generational dialogue globally.
As Chair of the Toronto Chapter of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community, he has been recognized internationally as a leader helping to empower young people to work collaboratively, share insights and mobilize resources to drive municipal-level civic engagement initiatives. Previously, Sean has worked in market research, studying relations between emotions, values and consumer behaviour building on his graduate research in Emotion Theory and Philosophy of Mathematics at Western University. He's now an Enterprise Account Executive at Convictional, where he helps the world's largest brands expand their online presence.


Paul Crossdale is the President of benefitsConnect Inc. He graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts (English) in 1990. He is a thought leader and has over 25+ years experience in the benefit, retirement and workplace insurance solution marketplace. Former positions held within the insurance industry include Account Executive with London Life specializing in plan design and implementation of group and retirement programs. Previously, Paul was Director of Eastern Canada, Group Operations, with Great West Life, the largest group insurance carrier in Canada. Over the last 16 years, his passion has been forging a personalized employee benefit practice in the GTA.


David Cruickshank is a partner with Edge International who advises law and other professional services firms on practice management, leadership development and talent retention strategies. He works with professional development partners, departments and hiring partners to convert training to a strategic advantage of the firm. David creates customized programs on time management, delegation, feedback, leadership and legal project management skills.


Madeline Lennon is an art historian, educator, and curator. She earned her MA and PhD in Art History at the University of Toronto, with studies at the Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris. Her first appointment at Western University was in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 1984, where she founded and coordinated the Western Literature and Civilization program, now Comparative Literature and Culture. In 1991 she joined the Visual Arts Department, where she served as Chair and Graduate Chair. Retired in 2008, she is Professor Emerita. Professor Lennon is the recipient of two major teaching awards, was regularly cited by the University Students Council on its Teaching Honour Roll, and by the YMCA as a Distinguished Woman of the Year.
Parallel to her teaching in art history and museum studies, Madeline has worked with contemporary artists, curating exhibitions at Museum London and the McIntosh Gallery, and has produced a number of catalogue essays. She collaborated with Greg Curnoe and Jake Moore for a special exhibition exploring the relationship between an artist and patron, and more recently has written on the work of Brian Saby, Wyn Geleynse and Thelma Rosner. Madeline has a special interest in women artists’ production, reflected in her writing on the work of Rosner, Shelley Niro and Jamelie Hassan. Her experiences with curating resulted in presentations at national conferences and international workshops concerned with contemporary developments in curation and the history of collecting and connoisseurship. She served as Chair of the McIntosh Gallery Committee (2008-2010) and as a member of the Gallery’s Acquisitions Committee.
Lennon’s work in the community includes serving as the Chair of the Board of the London Heritage Council (2010-2013) and as a current member of the Granting Committee of the London Community Foundation. She continues to be active at Western as a Teaching Fellow in the Teaching Support Centre, coordinating the mentoring program for new faculty.


As Executive Director, Anita Gaffney, BA'90, EMBA'02, works alongside the Artistic Director in setting the strategic and operational direction for the Stratford Festival. With a budget of $70 million, the Festival earns 95% of its revenue through ticket sales as well as ancillary and fundraising activities, making it one of the most self-sufficient cultural organizations on the continent.
Ms Gaffney joined the Festival in 1991 as a Publicity Assistant, and over the past 29 years has held a variety of positions, including Director of Marketing during the theatre’s years of peak attendance. She designed the Festival’s customer relationship marketing system, which remains in use today and has been emulated by arts organizations around the world. In addition to her marketing expertise, Ms Gaffney is highly regarded for her skills in government relations, finance, change management and strategic planning, honed during her years as the Festival’s Administrative Director.
In 2014, she and Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino announced the ground-breaking Stratford Festival HD project. Over the next decade, the entire canon of Shakespeare’s plays will be filmed, creating a unique cinematic library of Festival productions that will be broadcast worldwide and will serve as an invaluable educational tool for generations to come.
Her efforts to expand the reach of the Festival into the digital world also include supporting the production of previous films, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest and Twelfth Night, overseeing the renewal of the Festival’s website, the launch of mobile applications and the expansion of the Festival’s overall digital presence.
An active member of the Stratford community, Ms Gaffney serves on the Board of the City of Stratford’s economic development agency and is a committee member of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership. She is the Past Chair of the Stratford Public Library, and in 2011 she served as the Campaign Chair of the United Way Perth-Huron, raising $1.2 million.
In 2008 Ms Gaffney was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, and in 2006 she received a Business Excellence Award for Personal Achievement from the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce.
She has a BA in English from Western University, and MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and has continued her executive education through Harvard Business School. She resides in Stratford with her husband, Kevin.


Todd Thicke has enjoyed an incredibly successful career as a writer and producer in unscripted and scripted television in the United States and Canada. As writer and Executive Producer of ABC’s long running hit, America’s Funniest Videos, Thicke has grown the show into a network juggernaut, and his pilot script is on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Originally from Canada, Thicke moved to LA, writing and producing many specials and series including Growing Pains, Animal Crack-Ups, Let’s Make a Deal, New Candid Camera, ABC’s Into the Night, and America’s Funniest Videos. AFV has shot over 600 episodes, and has travelled all over the world for Disney Parks and Resorts, DCL Cruise Lines, and DisneyVacation Club. It is currently syndicated in over 50 countries and is the longest running show in ABC history. In addition are 25 versions customized for their distinct audiences all over the globe.
Thicke has also overseen hours of animated programming including Dennis the Menace, Nickelodeon’s Pelswick and Quads. He is the composer of numerous TV theme songs, including Split Second and Let’s Make a Deal.
An Emmy and Gemini nominee, Thicke has served three terms on the Steering Committee for the Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors, serves on the Advisory Committee of George Brown College Screenwriting and Narrative Design Program, and on the Youth Advisory Board for the P.A.R.T.I Program. He has spoken at numerous industry panels including The Paley Center, The TV Academy and NATPE.
Since founding Team Thicke in 2017, Thicke has successfully developed programming for networks and studios in both the U.S and Canada, including Wilshire Studios, the unscripted division of NBC/Universal cable: Prospero Studios, and Canada’s largest broadcaster, Bell Media. Thicke is also Executive Consultant on This Week Live, Canada’s Late Night Show, airing nationally across the country.
Thicke studied English Literature at University of Western Ontario in London and York University in Toronto.
He is brother to actor Alan Thicke, uncle to music superstar Robin Thicke and resides in LA.


With the rise of the innovation economy, algorithms and data-driven approaches are shaping our lives today and far into the future. Dr. Sarah Saska works to guide innovation (and the disruption that comes with them) to ensure that we build a future that benefits everyone, and brings everyone forward.
While pursuing her Ph.D. at Western University, Sarah developed research on the importance of diversity in innovation. Realizing the importance of her research, Sarah became a fellow at MaRS Discovery District to gain the support she needed to translate her research into practice. Now, as the Co-Founder and CEO of Feminuity, Sarah is an internationally experienced diversity, inclusion, and belonging executive. Sarah and her team partner with innovative companies around the world to help them embrace diversity and inclusion strategies to design better products, processes, and services and to build company cultures where people feel they belong.
Sarah is a member of the Advisory Council for The MATCH International Women's Fund and Pique Fund II, she sits on the Board of Directors for Wen-Do Women's Self Defence, and she is a mentor with MentorU. Sarah has been twice named amongst the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada (2015 and 2017).
Sarah speaks internationally about the future of technology and its impact on people and has delivered a TEDx talk. Sarah has been featured in Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Financial Post, and New York Times. She lives in Toronto with her dog, Gordon.


David Simmonds is a Senior Adviser at the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation. He brings deep experience with reputation, brand strategy, financial communications and corporate affairs across regulatory environments with advisory experience to senior leaders in a variety of sectors.
Most recently, David was Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs for McKesson Canada. A member of the company’s executive leadership team, David was responsible for internal communications, external affairs, media relations, government relations, corporate and event marketing, corporate social responsibility and strategic partnerships for McKesson’s business units in Canada.
Prior to leading Communications and Public Affairs, David served as Global Vice President Enterprise Strategy and Chief of Staff to McKesson Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. In this role he led a team responsible for designing the company’s multi-year growth strategy across Canadian, U.S., and European operations.
David is a member of Western University’s Board of Governors; Director and President Elect of the Canadian Club of Toronto; and, an Advisory Board Member of Catalyst Canada. His earlier board work includes six years with Casey House, Canada’s leading HIV Specialty Hospital and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
A graduate of Western University, David holds an Honours BA, MA, and completed the executive development program at the Wharton School.
A sought-after speaker his commentary can be found in national media including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC News. In 2015 the Diversity Advancement Network named David one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Canadians.


Francyn Stuckey is a Managing Director and Global head of Strategic Solution Delivery for Global Transaction Services (GTS) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Creating the team in Europe in late 2010 before expanding it to Asia, North and Latin America, she is responsible for developing end-to-end client solutions. Stuckey is also responsible for knowledge development and communication internally utilizing engaging newsletter and email channels.
Stuckey is a respected market commentator and helped lead GTS’ market response to the euro crisis, co-authoring the Eurozone storm: six lifesaving steps. She continues to guide client and market messaging on Risk Management. In 2010 she coined the term ‘Straight Through Reconciliation’ (STR), since adopted by the industry when referring to reconciliation efficiency in treasury.
Stuckey has 15 years financial experience. She is also a 20+ year veteran in marketing and strategy, starting her career at Bell Canada where her last role was to extend the telecom’s information marketing strategy regionally, in North America, and in Europe.
In addition to this, she is a passionate supporter of corporate responsibility and the community through arts programs and school mentoring, as well as a number of local and national charities in the UK. As a member of the Senior Women’s Council and Creating the Edge VP development programmes, Stuckey actively promotes diversity in the workplace.
Stuckey has an Arts honours degree from Western Ontario and also holds certification in International marketing and project management.
She lives in the United Kingdom in London.


Robert Paterson brings more than 25 years of financial services industry experience to his role as President and CEO of Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank. He has extensive leadership and consulting experience within the financial services industry and has led transformative business strategies at institutions such as CIBC, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Co and Aon. Mr. Paterson has pioneered leading advances in financial services such as automated credit decision, home equity financing and retail alliances. Mr. Paterson obtained his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and is currently Director and Vice Chairman of Enactus, Director of Central 1 Credit Union, Director of Ficanex Canada and Director of Alterna Bank.


Laura Curtis Ferrera, a chartered marketer, currently holds the position of Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer for Scotiabank. Since joining Scotiabank in February 2015, Laura has had an integral role in strategic marketing of the brands domestically and abroad in Global Business Banking, Global Wealth Management, Canadian Retail and International Banking.
While her portfolio is broad, the recent work she is most proud of is the launch and success of three award-winning programs: the Scotiabank Women InitiativeTM for women entrepreneurs; the Path to Impact for small business owners; and Hockey for all for all communities in Canada.
Outside of her business line responsibilities, Laura is a committed member of many of the organizations that the Bank supports including the Hot Docs documentary film festival.


Bob is an original member of the SASAH board and one of the program's earliest cheerleaders. A firm believer in multi-disciplinary education and the type of critical thinking provided by the Arts and Humanities, Bob leveraged his degree in English and Philosophy into a career in finance. Recently retired, Bob was Head of Global Asset Allocation for Manulife/ John Hancock, leading a team of portfolio managers across Canada, Asia, and the US. Bob and his wife Cathy (MA '79) live in Boston, where he manages a small real estate construction and rental business. Bob is active in the community. He recently completed his first sprint triathlon and has run the Boston Marathon five times, all for charity. In addition, he is the Treasurer for the South Boston Neighborhood House, one of the largest, oldest charities in Boston.